Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Walker's Play With Pay: Nothing New Under The Sun

In 2008, as the recession was hitting full swing, Scott Walker, then Milwaukee County Executive, falsely claimed that the county budget was in a crisis and illegally forced workers to take furlough days.  Years later, Milwaukee County tax payers were left on the hook to pay for the excessive and illegal furloughs to the tune of more than $6 million plus interest.

At the same time, that Walker was crying budgetary wolf, he was also handing out lavish raises to his cronies and yes men:
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker wants a 26% pay raise for his chief of staff, former Ald. Tom Nardelli, while bypassing traditional County Board approval in quietly issuing large pay raises over the summer to several other top aides.

Nardelli would get the biggest pay increase of top-tier county officials, a nearly $20,000 raise to $95,000 a year. Seven county administrators also scored increases of up to 12.5%.

Some supervisors are upset about being left out of the decision-making process for many of the raises and say Walker's timing couldn't be worse. Heavily rewarding a few top managers while Walker puts final touches on a 2009 budget that's expected to call for scores of layoffs of union workers sends a message of callous disregard, critics of the raises say.

Among the other big winners among Walker's top aides was Mitchell International Airport Director Barry Bateman. His pay rises $13,595, or 11%, to $136,299 a year. Facilities Management Director Jack Takerian got an $11,771 (12.5%) raise, to nearly $106,000.
At the same time, he was also laying off workers and demanding excessive concessions from workers, he was taking an automatic raise. And that's not counting the $50,000 raise he gave himself by breaking yet another campaign promise.

Given that sordid history and complete disregard for the truth, recent events were no big surprise to me.

Walker announced today that he was again going to stick it to the workers.  Only a few months after he cut their pay by hundreds of dollars a month - all so he could give tax breaks to his campaign donors - Walker decreed that state workers would not get a raise for at least the next two years.

As you absorb that tidbit, please remember that we already knew that he had been rewarding his cronies and yes men by appointing them to political positions, often at a much higher pay rate than their predecessors had been making.

To exacerbate this issue, via both Jake and Man MKE, it is noted that Walker is giving himself a $7,500 raise.  Not only is he being overly generous to himself, but he is also lavishing the love on some of his top henchmen like Becky Kleefisch, JB Van Hollen and Mike Huebsch.  You can see it all in this chart which can be found in the Statement of Benefits (Section B, page 5).:

I wonder who told him this was going to be a smart move with the recall about to start in just a few weeks.  Nothing like adding fuel to the fire.  He is either feeling very assured that the Koch Brothers will be able to buy his seat back from the people again or he's just not very bright.  While we already know the latter is true, I suspect that the real answer is both.

And if this pillaging of the working people of this state weren't enough, he also changed the rules about how state workers are going to be allowed raises, if that ever happens again under his regime.

Instead of having a worker's performance evaluated by their supervisor, all raises are going to go through the   Office of the State Employment Relations.  This flies in the face of Walker's talk about raises being done on a merit system.  Raises, as well as scheduling and assigning overtime, will be solely based on cronyism and who toes the party line instead of their actual job performance.

I have no doubt that they will also be monitoring any extracurricular activity to make sure that the workers are being good boys and girls.  Say anything disparaging about Walker or the Republicans on Facebook or Twitter and there goes your raise or your vacation request.

This sort of bullying has become a trademark for Walker and the Republicans.  Never did it cross their minds that if they had actually done their jobs by creating jobs instead of the full blown effort to turn Wisconsin into a corporate state, they wouldn't have had to resort to such base behavior.

But that's OK. Once we oust them from office, they'll have plenty of time to think about where they went wrong.


  1. Walker had to give all of them raises to cover their pension contributions. They can't be expected to take pay cuts like other government employees. Exactly like Walker gave his Milwaukee County staff raises to make up for the furlough days he stuck them with.

  2. This particular incident is what makes it hypocritical to say that we all must "share the sacrifice". I am saddened that college tuition costs will rise due to cuts to the university, public education fees are going up and quality will be going down. Now they are giving themselves raises. This shows a lack of integrity.

  3. I've looked at that over, and I think the document is confusing and you might be reading it wrong. The page above it states, "Article IV, Section 26, of the Wisconsin Constitution prohibits compensation
    increases or decreases for incumbent Constitutional Officers during the term of
    office. (Refer also to incumbent salary limitation under s. 20.923(15)(b), Wis.
    Stats. and s. 13.04 Wis. Stats.)" I'm guessing the pay increases were made during Doyle's term and the document corrects it.

  4. They probably did this to save money for and distract from the Capco plan that is being considered again.

  5. Whether Doyle instituted the pay raises or not is irrelevant. Walker knew he and the other executives were going to get a pay increase and their "voluntary" pension contributions would be a wash. Its disingenuous at the very least. A good eagle scout would have told us up front. A good eagle scout would give the money back to the state treasury so he could sacrafice as much as the common worker. Walker'll make it back when his term is over and he gets a cushy job at Americans for Prosperity.

  6. Hah. Congratulations. Due to your completely one sided approach to this, Politifact has given you a title of "Average Blogger".

  7. Your pants are on fire. Check out PolitiFact: you are NOT telling the truth. At all.

    Democrat Jim Doyle set the Governor's pay rate back in 2008. Walker hasn't changed it, and by law, CAN'T change it.